One of the biggest struggles that people have is knowing how shop and choose the right foods when visiting the grocery store. And while there are SO many choices and a TON of confusion at your local grocer, they've actually made it really EASY for you to shop, if you know what sections to visit, and which to avoid.
In fact, I can get in and out of the grocery store with a full cart of healthy food in just 15 minutes, simply because I know I'll NEVER even visit 90% of the store aisles on most visits.
So, before we get into my exact grocery list, here's my EASIEST grocery store tip EVER:
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the middle aisles. That's it!
Here's why it works:
With few exceptions, the middle aisles of the grocery store are full of processed, packaged foods while the perimeter contains almost all of the whole, natural foods you'll need to stock up on. Of course some stores are tricky and put organic grocery items in the middle, but you can make a beeline for the stuff you need and then get out of the aisle as quickly as possible. Also, you may need to visit the frozen food aisle to get some seafood (shrimp is my favorite) or organic edamame.
Here's my usual routine when visiting my local grocery store, and I'm sure your store is set up in a similar way.
When I walk in the door I make sure to walk right on past the bakery! Did you know that nearly every grocery store puts the bakery right at the entrance intentionally -- except for Trader Joe's? If they can get your saliva glands working right away, it's very likely you'll spend more as you travel through the store. Nothing in a grocery store's layout is by accident, which is why I know your store is probably laid out the same way.
So, quickly pass by the bakery and head straight to the produce section...this is where wholesome goodness starts...fresh fruits & veggies. In my most recent trip, here are the items I grabbed from the produce section:
- Green Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Romaine Lettuce
Of course there are a ton of other great choices lying around the produce section...pretty much any vegetable and/or fruit would be a great fat-burning, nutrient-rich choice.
I then walk 5 steps from the produce section to the fresh meat, poultry and fish. At my grocery stores they have an "all natural" section of the meat department where you can get all-natural and organic meats that are sourced from animals not treated with hormones and antibiotics. Your store probably has something like this as well. Just ask if you aren't sure.
From this section I grabbed:
- Organic chicken (breast, cut up pieces and whole)
- Organic turkey (ground, breast and whole)
- Organic beef (ground and lean steaks and roasts)
- I also picked up salmon (always wild -- never farm raised) or other wild caught fish.
Next up is the dairy and egg section, again right on that back wall (still haven't ventured into the aisles at all). From here I picked up:
- Organic large eggs
- Liquid egg whites
- Organic Greek yogurt (plain)
- Organic low-fat cottage cheese
- Organic low-fat string cheese
- Organic shredded cheese (parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella)
- Organic hummus
- Organic guacamole
I also picked up a case or two of water (sparkling and plain) and that essentially took me back to the front of the store to check out. A full cart of low-carb groceries all while NEVER visiting the center aisles where I'm sure I would have been tempted to toss in a bunch of processed garbage like cookies, crackers, chips, ice cream, cereal, stove top pasta "mixes" -- and the list goes on.
If I do ever make a strategic trip into the middle of the store, it's almost always to get these items:
- Trader Joe's sprouted bread
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond and/or coconut milk
- Tomato Puree
- Almonds (and nut butter)
And that's about it.
Follow this simple advice next time you're at the grocery store and you'll be in and out in no time while avoiding all those processed items that wind up ruining your diet once you get them home.